Civil rights lawyer calls on Grantsville school to investigate alleged racist bullying, assault
Dec 14, 2023, 10:16 PM | Updated: 10:28 pm
GRANTSVILLE — A Utah civil rights lawyer is calling on a Tooele County elementary school to investigate alleged incidents of racist bullying that he said led to an assault against a student.
Attorney Tyler Ayres, who is representing one of the families, said two students from two different families at Grantsville Elementary School have endured racial slurs and fighting, and it escalated to the point that he said a student was assaulted Thursday and parents called police.
Ayres said the mother of a boy who attends Grantsville Elementary reported her son was being assaulted and threatened by other students because of his race during school.
He said when the student ran to his teacher to report it, the teacher grabbed him and said, “I don’t care.” Ayres said the young boy was shaken up by the incident and that the mother called the teacher herself, at first.
“When confronted by the student’s mother, the teacher said, ‘Well, I didn’t say that I don’t care. I said, ‘I don’t care that much,'” Ayres said. “I don’t understand the parsing out of words… we’re hopeful that the Tooele School District will get to the bottom of this.”
He said the parents also reported calling the police about the assault. KSL TV has reached out to the Grantsville Police Department for information.
“We want to know that all of the children who are at Grantsville Elementary School, as well as any other school in this state, are being protected equally and that when one of them asks for help, they’re not put off,” Ayres said.
He explained that he’s now trying to meet with the Tooele County School District and is calling upon them to investigate, take disciplinary action where necessary, and work on additional training for teachers.
“[The student] wants to be able to come back and feel safe here, and right now, his family is struggling with that,” Ayres said. “Hopefully, over the Christmas break, they and the school district and the school can work something out. So that he doesn’t have to come here and be afraid.”
The parents in Thursday’s alleged incident are keeping their child home for the remainder of the year, Ayres said, and the student will not be returning to school Friday.
Ayres said the parents of the other student pulled them out of school in the past month because of alleged racist bullying, and he said that student is now being homeschooled.
Rae Duckworth, operating chairperson for the Utah Chapter of Black Lives Matter, said they are offering the family and boy support as needed and will be watching to see what happens with the district.
The Tooele County School District released a statement Thursday evening:
Tooele County School District is aware of an investigation at Grantsville Elementary School. Upon notification, district administration promptly collaborated with Grantsville Police to address the accusations. We remain dedicated to ensuring a safe learning environment for our students and teachers.